A proper diagnosis, likely some good medicine, delivered with an unfortunate bedside manner.

READ REVIEW

EUROPE'S LAST CHANCE

WHY THE EUROPEAN STATES MUST FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION

With the entire European project severely threatened, Belgium’s former prime minister offers a prescription to save the European Union.

Following the bailout of Greece and Britain’s vote to leave the union, amid a boiling refugee crisis and an unprecedented threat of terrorism, the EU’s continued survival no longer seems assured. How, then, to save it? A member of the European Parliament since 2009, Verhofstadt (The Financial Crisis—How Europe Can Save the World, 2009, etc.) argues, unsurprisingly, for complete integration along the lines of the American federal model. Few will dispute his analysis of the union’s current infirmities: a sluggish economy, a 25 percent youth unemployment rate, low levels of labor mobility, no common budget, a pitifully weak defense community, lax security arrangements, and a common currency unsupported by a true political union. As he addresses these and other issues, the author hits all the predictable notes about transparency and democracy while calling for more streamlined institutions and even a two-tier reorganization (full or associated membership). For the current mess, he faults EU elites for their “quick fix politics” and for attempting a “step-by-step Europe” instead of committing wholeheartedly to union. Mostly, though, he blames those under “the nationalist delusion that still haunts Europe”: predatory outsiders like Vladimir Putin; troublemaking insiders like Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, Britain’s Tony Blair, and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; provocateurs like France’s Marine Le Pen and Britain’s Nigel Farage. But why gratuitously insult the ghosts of Margaret Thatcher, Charles de Gaulle, even Milton Friedman, serious people all, or more grievously, rudely dismiss the millions of euroskeptics loath to surrender sovereignty to a union whose benefits have yet to outweigh its burdens? Verhofstadt takes a swipe at assuaging their concerns but ultimately rejects these voices as merely xenophobic, crudely populist, or absurdly emotional. His barely concealed contempt for those who have frustrated his cherished project will likely win few converts among a constituency essential for the EU’s success.

A proper diagnosis, likely some good medicine, delivered with an unfortunate bedside manner.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-465-09685-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more